Thomas Bridge 03 July 2015

Video reveals 12-month cat-and-mouse game between council and graffiti artist

A graffiti artist has filmed his year-long battle against council cleaning crews who scrubbed off his ‘experiment’ on an east London wall 11 times.

Street artist Mobstr noticed the wall in Hackney Wick where graffiti outside a red painted section was scrubbed off through a different technique to that on the un-painted brickwork.

This led Mobstr to spray the word ‘red’ on painted sections, with each phrase being replaced by another as council crews cleaned the wall.

The artist gradually inched the words towards the un-painted brickwork, before painting ‘red?’ and then ‘pressure wash?’ on sections devoid of the crimson hue.

Click here to watch the picture montage.

At one point Mobstr even highlighted a section of graffiti that hadn’t been cleaned off the wall by town hall employees, spraying ‘what about this?’ alongside a large arrow.

The council ultimately covered the entire wall with the scarlet tint, prompting a final farewell from Mobstr: ‘Well, that’s one way to end it. Thanks mate, it’s been fun.’

‘I cycled past this wall on the way to work for years, I noticed that graffiti painted within the red area was “buffed” with red paint. However, graffiti outside of the red area would be removed via pressure washing,’ Mobstr said.

‘This prompted the start of an experiment. Unlike other works, I was very uncertain as to what results it would yield.’

A Tower Hamlets Council spokesperson said: 'Graffiti clean up each year costs approximately £200,000, with this particular incident costing £600. Graffiti can reduce property value and depress economic development so removal is dealt with quickly and where possible, perpetrators are prosecuted by the police.

'The council is developing an anti-defacement policy that recognises that high quality street art can benefit our communities and enhance the general street scene.'

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